Since the rise of Donald Trump, journalists, academics, and activists have amused themselves penning elaborate “think pieces” on the Alt-Right. “How could this have happened!?” seems to be the unvoiced question behind almost all of them. Whether it’s a smear job against an individual activist or an attempt to deconstruct, once and for all, the entire movement—or the occasional insightful analysis—the premise is that something has gone “wrong” somewhere. Thus, we get journalism as psychoanalysis and insinuation—how the Alt-Right is all about White racial anxiety, toxic masculinity, problematic online cultures, or how this is all just Russia’s fault.
There might be some kernels of truth in there; but in fact, the Alt Right can be explained very simply. It is a loosely organized grouping on the American Right, united around core commitments—Whiteness being indispensable. As I wrote on the eve of Charlottesville, “The Alt-Right wages a situational and ideological war on those deconstructing European history and identity.”
In this situational battle, the Alt-Right is marked by its opposition to the established conservative movement, what could be called “Conservatism, Inc.” Indeed, opposition to “conservatism” is a more decisive factor than opposition to the Left and Social Justice Warriors. After all, your average cuckservative, libertarian, and gaming-ethics advocate hates the Left and SJWs and is able to deconstruct them with ease. If we are going to risk our reputations and lives for something, we might want to go after higher hanging fruit.
In the Alt-Right’s “beta” stage, you could say—before it had a term recognized in the mainstream—the grouping consisted of people who were “purged” by the conservative movement, those who broke with the it over major issues, and those who took one look at the Beltway Right and declared it to be too stupid to survive. The journalist and sociologist Sam Francis is paradigmatic in this regard, as was Paul Gottfried.
The Alt-Right’s advocacy of Whiteness is obviously what the media finds the most inflammatory and scandalous. And today, “Alt Right” is used as a slur more than an explanatory label. It’s a way to “freeze the target” as Saul Alinsky said, cutting it off from support networks and sympathy. (This recent turn has inspired some to believe that they could simply call themselves something other than Alt-Right and then smuggle Alt-Right ideas into the mainstream without taking any heat. I wish them luck with this strategy.)
The fact is, speaking too freely about race (or the Jewish Question) has always been a quick way to get yourself fired from official conservatism . . . even though conservatives are always playing footsie with racial issues and always dog-whistling to their White voters. There might be plenty of goofballs at CPAC telling us that “Democrats are the real racists,” but every Republican campaigner in a racially diverse district knows he or she only wins if Whites turn out and non-Whites don’t. Whatever National Review says, on Election Day, all politics is identity politics.
This doesn’t mean Beltway Right apparatchiks don’t actually believe their own bullshit (most of them do). It does mean, however, that conservatives can never really be “anti-racist” to the Left’s satisfaction. The electoral viability of the GOP depends on appealing to the grievances of a White constituency. Whether they be “good schools,” “getting tough on crime,” or “preventing election fraud,” the memes of the most milquetoast Republican will always sound to non-White ears like racial attacks.
The conservative movement, by its very nature, will always tolerate a certain amount of politically incorrect thought on race, even as it strictly polices itself to prevent any authentic defense of White America. You can even talk about the genetic reality of race to some extent and stay within the Beltway Right’s good graces. Charles Murray is in no danger of losing his perch at The American Enterprise Institute, as he is a IQ realist who has never questioned libertarianism at home and neoconservatism abroad. That said, it’s doubtful that even his like will be allowed to rise in Conservative, Inc. ever again.
What you can’t do is promote White identity and consciousness. The conservative movement must draw on populist forces to win elections (like talking tough on immigration), but then carefully channel them into the most useless policies imaginable (like providing tax cuts for the very corporations who support mass immigration). The conservatives’ balancing act will never end. The Alt-Right’s job is to encourage the conservative movement’s main constituency to defend themselves, rather than their exploiters.
Ultimately, people need to be able to talk about racial realities and White interests without being purged, denounced, and attacked in the streets. Until that time, obfuscation, doublethink, and protective stupidity are the tools of survival when it comes to operating withinBeltway. And to be honest, it’s a relatively simple matter to triangulate against “political correctness,” counter-signal White “racists” and “identity politics,” and keep your job. Knowing exactly where to draw the line, and not crossing it, is the key to holding on to the coveted five-figure salaries within the movement.
Race-realists and even White nationalists all can (and do) work in mainstream conservative politics, as long as certain topics are not openly discussed. After all, leftists would consider all of them as defenders of a system defined by “White privilege” and “structural racism.” Every few months, some poor guy who gets a little too free on social media or who is tattled on by a snitch will be purged. In general though, the conservative movement survives by refusing to take race seriously, even as it depends on White grievance politics for electoral support.
Foreign policy is different. Questions such as whether or not to bomb some country, whether Russia is a friend or foe, and whether American troops should nation-build or not require yes or no answers. Being on the wrong side of certain questions will get you purged from the Beltway Right faster than anything short of explicitly defending White identity. The major figures and institutions in the conservative movement need to take actual policy positions when it comes to foreign affairs, and this presents real challenges for a movement that has a history of purging its most innovative and serious thinkers.
More than a decade after the second Iraq War, and 17 years into the War in Afghanistan, there has been no fundamental rethinking of foreign policy within conservatism. Yes, the Iraq war is no longer popular; and yes, one can counter-signal “nation-building” as a kind of naive humanitarianism (perhaps imagining it to be something Barack Obama promoted as opposed to being the centerpiece of the first term of the Bush administration). Yet despite all that, John Bolton is in the White House and Mike Pompeo has been nominated as Secretary of State. And despite his campaign rhetoric, President Trump has bombed Syria for a second time, maintained and increased sanctions on Russia, and even taken up much of the hysterical anti-Russian rhetoric. Despite all that’s happened, it’s difficult to name a conservative foreign-policy realist, not to mention nominate one.
Neither the conservative grassroots nor its leaders can decide whether the “populist” position is to bomb Syria back to the Stone Age or echo Sarah Palin’s call to “let Allah sort it out.”As of this writing, conservative Twitter and Breitbart are pushing a photo of Nancy Pelosi shaking hands with Bashar al-Assad to paint the Democrats as “weak” on Syria.
We certainly live in a better situation than the era of George W. Bush. While neoconservatives ruled the roost, mainstream voices, such as Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter, would never have been given airtime to question a Republican president’s airstrikes. Moreover, the common use of terms such as “Deep State” and “America First” also subtly imply American current foreign policy is being determined by foreigners.
This is a major opportunity for the Alt-Right to expose the divisions within the American conservative movement. After all, it’s in the area of foreign policy—not race—where you can find the real beginnings of the “Alt Right”—and the real sacrifices of people who were expelled for questioning the party line. It’s one thing to tell conservatives to simply stop “cucking” on racial issues, to think seriously about them, and to finally follow through on issues they campaign on, like affirmative action and immigration. It’s quite another to urge a wholesale policy shift and a core rethinking of national interests. Reorienting American foreign policy would be as dramatic a shift as the American conservative movement coming out in favor of universal health care.
The roots of what we now call the Alt-Right lay in the Ron Paul movement. It was Ron Paul (before Trump) who built a cult following on the Internet, who showed the promise of online fundraising, who created an entire subculture, and who represented an ideological challenge to Conservative, Inc. from the right. Most importantly, it was the utter failure of the Iraq Wa—and the Beltway Right’s inability to coherently defend it—that discredited the conservative establishment for an entire generation.
As seen in the career trajectory of figures like Jack Hunter, Paul did not defend his earlier immigration restrictionist positions nor his cultural conservatism. Thus, the Paul movement split. Many of those who became politically aware during the Paul movement are now the post-libertarian nationalists of the Alt Right. As for the left-libertarians, they seem determined to eclipse the Social Justice Warriors in silliness and hysteria.
The hunger for a true reorientation of American foreign policy was a powerful force in the rise of the Alt Right. Racial politics can, to some extent, be moderated and assimilated into normal Republican politics. As Steve Bannon put it, it can be “washed out.” But foreign policy can’t. You are either in a war or you are not. Russia is either a friend or it is an enemy. And Candidate Trump explicitly campaigned, in the teeth of united Beltway Right opposition, on working with Russia in the Middle East. His victory discredited an entire generation of conservative foreign policy “experts.” And his embrace of them now is worse than a crime; it’s a mistake.
Obviously, the rule of our “greatest ally” in leading President Trump to break his promises is so transparent it almost doesn’t even need to be mentioned. Of course, for many older Republicans, this is enough to justify bombing Syria, utterly convinced as they are that what is good for Israel is good for America. However, even for the most basic Fox News watching Trump supporter, the Syria intervention raises disturbing questions.
Put yourself in the mind of a MAGA Boomer who is completely in the bag for Israel. Does such a person think American troops should be used to destroy the one regime that protects Christians in the Middle East? Does such a person think American troops should be used as mercenaries for Saudi Arabia, the same kingdom that is directly funding Islamic radicals in Europe? Should the American government be aligned with near-genocidal Saudi campaign in Yemen? Does even the most Zionist American conservative think it’s a great idea to be serving as the shock troops for Erdogan’s Turkey, who speaks openly about essentially re-creating the Ottoman Caliphate and who tells Turks abroad to pursue Islamization within their European host countries?
Let’s put it plainly. Any Americans who joined the military to avenge the September 11 terrorist attacks are now being forced to serve as Al Qaeda’s air support. And this is being done by a president who specifically denounced such practices during his campaign, and largely defended by a media who are so consumed with hatred for the Russian people and way of life that they are willing to risk World War III.
We shouldn’t overstate the case. President Trump’s air strikes are not the equivalent of the second Iraq War. And he is likely showing more restraint than any other Republican would—and certainly more than President Hillary would have. But at any moment, this situation could spiral into a full-fledged shooting war with a nuclear power. Without “blackpilling” or falling into hyperbole, it is vitally important for the Alt-Right to speak out against any intervention against Assad. If anything, we should be taking his side.
In the end, no one else can be an authentic, antiwar movement. The Alt-Right, at this moment, is more relevant than at any time since the election of President Donald Trump. The Alt-Right, and only the Alt-Right, is the one political grouping that is standing boldly against American intervention in Syria, against confrontation with Russia, and against the expenditure of American blood and treasure for interests that are not our own. It is only the Alt Right making the case, not just that we are intervening unnecessarily in a foreign conflict, that we are intervening on the wrong side. Russia may not prove to be the savior of the White race, but when it comes to Syria, it must be said with utter commitment that Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad are fighting for the civilized world.
It is time for the Alt-Right to return to its roots. It is an opposition force, fighting against the established conservative movement, the neoconservatives in particular. The Alt-Right declares the organized conservative movement has betrayed its own constituency by encouraging a war which is not in the interest of the historic American nation. And the Alt-Right stands alone, not just against Conservatism Inc., but the frothing war-hungry jackals of the mainstream media, the foreign interests screaming for blood, and the hypocritical hall-monitors calling themselves antifa.
We will not fight another brothers’ war. If it comes, draft the journalists. For the ultimate battle we need to win is at home.